A new year is often be a time of reflection for brands. It can be a time to figure out what’s working and what’s not – and then make a plan to improve. For some brands, the reflection in the mirror can, and should, inspire a complete overhaul.
This year, there are a few brands who may want to consider a reboot for their image. It’s time to press restart for these three brands.
1. Carl’s Jr.
In 2005, Carl’s Jr. ran a Super Bowl ad with socialite Paris Hilton in a bikini chowing down on one of their thick burgers. The racy spot caused quite a stir and stuck in the minds of viewers as an effective use of the old adage “sex sells.” Fast forward a decade and the fast food chain is still sticking to its sexy messaging.
The unapologetic objectification of women has caused a backlash for the fast food chain. Social media campaigns like the #CuttheCarls campaign encourages people, particularly like-minded men, to speak out on social channels because “women are #morethanmeat.”
The backlash only seems to spur dedication for Carl Jr’s marketing team to keep running these types of ads. CKE—parent company to Carl’s Jr.—CMO Brad Haley explained in USA Today that the ads are targeted towards the restaurants target audience of males 18-to-35-year old males and that "We know, from our history, this is the kind of ad they want to see over and over again."
Perhaps the sex-centered, woman-objectifying ads are inappropriate and perhaps they are successful – but removing all that – ten years of the same ad over and over again is unimaginative. A brand reboot could focus on something other than a woman’s melons could actually move the brand outside of a very narrow range of young males as a target audience.
Poor RadioShack has become more famous in recent years for its missteps in marketing and its inability to evolve with a new marketplace than for selling electronics. Tales of employees working in brick-and-mortar ghosts – one employee for example detailed to The Monitor how it wasn’t unusual to go three or more hours without a customer coming into the store.
Like many other retailers, RadioShack has been hit hard by the rise of online shopping from giants like Amazon and auctions like Ebay. The internet, and to a large degree mobile, has eliminated a good deal of demand for certain electronics like DVD players, music players, and more. One could say that RadioShack is fighting a losing battle. And with the news Wednesday that RadioShack is filing for bankruptcy as early as Thursday, it could very well be end times for the electronic retailer.
The reality is that there could still be a market for a store like RadioShack – even if mp3s have killed the radio star. The rise of interest in “tinkerers” comes from the larger millennial-driven trend of do-it-yourself fanatics that could be into the kind of products RadioShack retails. Hipsters have taken a renewed interest in older machines that could be the brand’s meal ticket. When Joseph Magnacca stepped into a CEO role at RadioShack in 2013 – he attempted to drive a 'maker' culture throughout the chain, but the efforts were too disjointed. Magnacca quit about a year later, which left the chain without direction once again.
Perhaps Radio Shack is a lost cause, but if the right leadership was able to pull together a cohesive strategy to bring in the tinkerers and DIY-ers – perhaps the brand could find a new found ironic following – much like Pabst Blue Ribbon or record players.
3. Ticket Master
Anyone who has purchased online tickets in the past few years has likely been subjected to the pain and disappointment of hidden services fees through Ticket Master. For a good number of years, the digital ticketing services had a monopoly on the concert and event scene – leaving attendees feeling more than slighted about the company’s practices. The brand has even been named on several “worst brand” lists and was runner up to EA in The Consumerists 2013 “Worst Brand in America” contest.
In recent years however, competitors have started stepping up to offer a Ticket Master alternative to purchasing event tickets. Smaller firms like TicketFly, Eventbrite, and Tikly have attempted to take on the giant, but so far no one has been able to break Ticket Master’s monopoly – mostly because of exclusive agreements the company has with so many event centers. Ticket Master really has become the brand people love to hate.
Things could be turning around for Ticket Master if it softens its services fees and pays attention to what consumers want. Google is launching a concert aggregate feature that will automatically list results of places to buy tickets in the search results. This could be the advantage Ticket Master needs to remain on top – as the giant has inked a partnership with Google to be included in the results. The search results won’t change the brand’s bad reputation for ridiculous services fees, however, only policy changes or an image makeover will clear its name.